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5 Practical Tips to Promote a Nutritional Mindset for the Whole Family

5 Practical Tips to Promote a Nutritional Mindset for the Whole Family

Cooking can be a very daunting task, especially when faced with countless pans, utensils, and devices you’ve never heard of, as well as advanced cooking phrases and jargon. There are some who left all the cooking to their mothers or fathers, and never learned how to do it on their own. Others are born with the talent and taste, but are too lazy to develop their skills.

Then there are those who are intimidated when they see one single unknown ingredient, which leads them to throw in the towel when it comes to cooking and leave the rest up to the chefs and cooking masters to feed them decently healthy foods every weekend. This kind of habit can literally break the bank! We are living in an era of fast food and quick microwavable meals, so why bother learning to cook?

Our body needs certain nutrients in order to function properly. Yes, nutrients come from food, but that doesn’t mean you can just eat whatever you want. Countless studies, privately or publicly posted, have proved that eating to your heart’s desire, especially microwavable and fast foods, is a huge health risk. Obesity rates are skyrocketing every single year.

Imagine: three out of 10 children ages four to 19 are gaining an extra 6 pounds a year! The regular intake of quickie foods is the main culprit, and apparently, it ups the chances of getting other serious conditions such as diabetes, depression, and heart attacks — these are conditions you want to prevent your loved ones from developing.

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Fortunately enough, we’re also living in an era of agricultural mastery and nutritional science. It’s easy to take the quick route and throw a TV dinner in the microwave, but making a nutritious meal may actually be a lot easier than some of us think. So here are five easy tips to help keep the whole family healthy without spending all day in the kitchen or breaking the bank.

1. Take a second look at the costs of healthier options.

One common misconception is that eating healthy is just too expensive. We look at the bell peppers in the produce aisle and see frozen, pre-cooked, fatty meals two isles away at a better bargain. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be as expensive as it seems.

For example, a stir fry consisting of brown rice, frozen veggies and the sauce of your choice can feed a person for as little as 30 cents a meal. Black bean burritos with lettuce are inexpensive as well. Making your own from scratch (aside from the tortillas themselves) takes no longer than 10 minutes and can feed a family of five for $3.

Both of these meal ideas give ample protein and veggie intake in just one meal and cost next to nothing. There are other cheap, healthy meal ideas to be found all over the web. These are just a start.

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2. Cooking doesn’t have to take all day.

Another misconception about eating healthy is that we just don’t have the time to make healthy meals in our busy lives. Just like the meal ideas in the above tip, cooking doesn’t have to be a big chore.

A breakfast burrito consisting of a scrambled eggs fried together with a handful of spinach and black beans tossed in a tortilla takes as little as five minutes. For those who aren’t fond of yolk, the same recipe can be made by only using egg whites and adding an extra egg.

There are tons of healthy meals that take only minutes to make. Beans of any sort, spinach, potatoes, eggs, frozen veggies and low-fat yogurt are among the many staples of those with busy lives who appreciate a quick homemade meal. Get creative!

3. Foods aren’t better from a can.

You may have noticed I’m a pretty big fan of frozen veggies, the reason being that fresh veggies can be hard on the wallet, while canned veggies can be hard on the body. Simply put, canned veggies are not our friends. While still retaining some of their nutrients, the canning process has been known to take away from their overall nutritional value. It also can’t hurt to stay away from pumping our bodies full of preservatives.

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Frozen veggies have the nutritional value of fresh veggies without the steep price. This goes for most everything, not just veggies. When buying meat, the frozen variety is always a good choice. While still healthy, you’ll rarely find yourself throwing away rotten meat or eating preservatives from a can.

4. Calories aren’t all bad.

Calories have gotten a pretty bad rap today. Yeah, we all go gaga about “protein shakes are healthier” or “gm diet plan works better than intermittent fasting” while ignoring the fact that our bodies simply need calories to function. There is definitely such thing as too little calories. You can’t be healthy and underfed; it just doesn’t work. Everyone’s recommended calorie intake is different and varies based on weight, age, gender, and activity level.

calorie-intake

    Luckily, anyone with a computer and internet connection has access to a variety of different calorie calculators on the web. Sites like Calorie Counter and Calorie King make it easy to know just how many we should be eating. For those trying to lose or put on weight, these calorie calculators as well as other high-tech fitness trackers are motivational and perfect for helping reach your weight goals.

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    5. Trick your brain.

    A somewhat well-known method of making yourself feel fuller faster is to drink water both before and during a meal. This stops us from overeating as our brains often confuse hunger and thirst. However, according to a recent study, this isn’t the only way to keep from overeating.

    Recent research shows that eating more flavorful food tricks our brains into thinking we’ve eaten more than we really have. However, this doesn’t mean we should douse everything we eat in salt. There are many non-sodium-based spices that can add more flavor to our food without adding any unhealthy ingredients. Making use of these can make sure everyone in the family eats the right amount of food in each sitting.

    And that’s it! Many people underestimate how important the food we eat really is. Putting these tips into place can change your family’s eating habits for the better and even change your child’s future tremendously. While there are more things to learn, these tips should act as a great starting point for anyone looking to make significant healthy changes to their life.

    Featured photo credit: FamVeld via shutterstock.com

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    Junie Rutkevich

    Game Developer of iXL Digital

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2018

    35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

    35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

    Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

    But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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    The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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    While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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    While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

    If You’re Staying In

    1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
    2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
    3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
    4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
      • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
      • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
      • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
      • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
        • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
        • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
        • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
          • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

          If You Want to Get Away

          1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
          2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
          3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
            • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
            • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
            • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
            • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
            • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
            • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
              • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
              • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

              New & Exciting Experiences

              1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
              2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
                experience.
                • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
                • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
                • Experience white water rafting.
                • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
                • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                  • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                  • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                    • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                    • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                    • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                    Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                    Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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